​​​​Approaches to assessment

Assessment of children's learning and development commences shortly after birth as practitioners and parents observe and note milestones in a child's growth, development and learning. Assessment is a process integral to learning and it helps practitioners, parents and children to understand what the children as learners have learned and achieved and what the next steps in their learning might be. 

Assessment in the Early Years

Birth to 3 years

Assessment supports children's health, wellbeing and learning and development. Formal and informal approaches to assessment are used to document and describe holistic views of learning in everyday experiences. These include:

  • the Maternal and Child Health Key Ages and Stages Framework including the Parents' Evaluation of Developmental Status
  • observational records in early childhood education and care services and
  • play-based assessment in early childhood intervention services.

These assessments inform referrals to other early year practitioners, early interventions where required and children's transitions to other early childhood settings and into school. Drawing on families' knowledge, in collaboration with children and other professionals, assessment supports early childhood practitioners planning for babies, toddlers and young children's learning and development. ​

3 to 5 years

Across these years, assessments are used to recognise and respond to children's growing individuality. This includes individual differences in temperament, dispositions and cultural, family and community background.  Age alone does not indicate skill or capability, and approaches to assessment in the three to five year period include recorded observations, photographs and samples of children's work (including photographs that demonstrate learning) to support ongoing planning for children's learning and development. 

5 to 8 years – continuity of learning and transitions

Assessments are geared to support your child's transition from kindergarten programs and other early childhood settings to school. Assessments at this stage typically build a strong understanding of each child's strengths, interests and capabilities drawing on the child's and family's views as well as early childhood practitioners'  views. Information is gathered regularly and in familiar settings. These assessments enable practitioners to track progress in the child's learning and development and to plan appropriate learning opportunities.

Approaches to assessment include observational tools, 'Transition Statements' (to learn more, see the  Transition Learning and Development website ) and other types of assessments such as the English Online interview which is used to assess your child's skills in English on entry to school. For more information, see Specific Assessment Tools.

Assessments in these years are made against the VEYLDF and the Victorian Curriculum F-10

Assessment in Foundation to level 10

The AusVELS is a framework of essential learning for children typically from Foundation to Level 10 (usually taught from Prep to year 10). Used by Victorian government and Catholic schools, and available to independent schools if they choose, the curriculum sets out content and achievement standards across a continuum of learning divided into levels, which describe the expectations for student achievement at points along the continuum.

Children are assessed to determine where they are on the learning continuum. The key purpose of an initial assessment is to understand where a child is on the learning continuum so that an appropriate learning program can be planned.

Teachers then assess children informally during class activities through questioning, discussion, observation, and formally through written or oral tasks. These assessments along with learner self-assessments enable the teacher to understand which level on the continuum the child has achieved so they can plan the next steps in their learning program.  

Assessment in the senior secondary years

​In the senior years of schooling, students can choose between studying for the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL), and may undertake one or more Vocational Education and Training certificates (VET).

Assessment in VCE is a combination of school-based assessment tasks (known as SACs and SATs) and external examinations. VCAL is assessed by the school in accordance with program requirements and VET is assessed by the school in accordance with the requirements of the associated registered training organisation (RTO). ​







page updated 11/05/2016